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Thunder Piecing Together Successful Season

As Mt. St. Mary Thunder volleyball coach Brittany Schukraft looks over her roster she can’t help but smile because she knows that when all of the smaller pieces of the puzzle fit together just right, the completed picture should be of a successful season.

“The biggest thing we’ve been focusing on is just having confidence in yourself and communicating with each other,” Schukraft said.

Leading the way for the Thunder this fall will be seniors Emily Trotman (middle blocker) and Natalie Scrivani (libero).

The Thunder kicked off the season on a positive note when they beat Mt. Mercy at home in three straight games on Sept.7.

“We went into this game really hyped up for a win,” Trotman said. “It’s really good because it’s our first step towards where we want to be at the end of the season, in the finals game, so this is a very good feeling. A very good start.”

Scoring victories of 25-15 and 25-19, the Thunder were certainly in the drivers seat after the first two sets. The challenge would be closing out the game in the third, something that had been a bit of an issue in recent seasons.

The Magic definitely didn’t make it easy as they played hard until the final point, but the Thunder stayed in control and posted a 25-18 win to complete the 3-0 sweep. The fact that they didn’t let a winnable game get away is a sign of growth and maturity for the Thunder as a whole.

“I think that we realized we were slipping a little bit,” Scrivani said of the third game, “and that instead of getting mad at each other we (kept it loose) with each other to get that win.”

“I think our attitudes are better this year because we all really, really want it. We all want to be in that (championship) finals this year,” Trotman said, as Scrivani added, “we want to go to states. We’re all going to work hard to get to where we want to be.”

Again, at the heart of what has every girl so confident in the team’s potential is the balance and skill they have at every position.

Trotman is a strong player at the net at middle blocker. Junior Lillian Mueller and sophomore Daniella Gugino are deadly at outside hitter. Scrivani is a defensive wizard in the back row and sophomore Sarah Vicari (setter) runs the offense.

The Thunder roster is also greatly improved by the arrival of senior middle blocker Emily Bartholomew and junior Megan Schweickert (right side) who came to the Mount this fall after Immaculata closed.

Feeling they have the team with the talent to make their title dreams come true, Scrivani and Trotman said that as seniors they know it’s their job to set the right tone every day and keep everyone in the team first mind set.

“I think being seniors, we’ve been on the team for so long, and we know how to bond,” Scrivani said.

“I think that as leaders we should show that. To bond on the court, to do well together and to support each other if we mess up.”

Emma Winner, Samantha Hare, Angela Hora, Caroline Manna and Catherine Lippert complete the Thunder roster.

“We do have every position covered talent-wise,” Schukraft said. “Now it’s just (about) them finding their own way to put it together, communicate and compete on the court.”

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